Campfires are one of our kiddos favorite parts of camping. But as parents it can be a stressful time due to the danger associated with an open flame. The following are a few of the ways we make campfire time safer for the kiddos.
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Our primary strategy with the kids is keeping them far enough away from the campfire ring so that if they trip or slip, there is enough of a buffer that they won’t fall into the fire. Since kiddos often do better with visual reminders of boundaries, we started employing a strategy that I first used as a summer camp counselor. We take a piece of long rope (or line up firewood) to create a circle around our fire ring. The kiddos know that they must stay outside of this line.
Another rule we have is that if the kiddos get out of their campfire chair, they have to walk behind the chairs rather than in front of the chairs. Walking in front of people’s chairs creates more opportunities for tripping over feet or walking to close to the fire, so staying behind the ring of chairs is another simple way we can create a safer campfire environment.
If we are roasting s’mores, the kiddos know they must be accompanied by an adult in order to cross into the ring. Prior to having kids, we used cheap, traditional roasting sticks (with fork prongs facing out) but with eager kiddos, we found those roasting sticks could be a stabbing hazard. (My sister has a scar under her one eye from when we were kids and I swung a roasting stick and accidentally hit her face … not cool!) We use the Rome Safe-T forks that do not have sharp points sticking out.
Our kiddos typically go to bed early. This doesn’t always work when we are camping and touring, but if we let them stay up late for too many nights in a row, they get crabby and the trip goes from fun to misery. So one of our strategies is using campfire time as a chance for them to unwind from the day’s fun. We help them get ready for bed and then they can come back out to the fire and sit in their chair for story time and songs before heading to their bunks. It is during these times when I will often read them one of the “Value Tales,” an old series of books that were mine when I was a kid.
So those are some ways we manage campfire time to keep it safe and fun for our kiddos. If you have any more ideas to share, you can comment on this post over on our Facebook page.